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Libba 'flying' as he prepares for comeback: Crozier

Press Conference | Hayden Crozier Hayden Crozier spoke to the media today ahead of the Bulldogs first JLT match against Gold Coast

TOM LIBERATORE is setting himself up to bounce back in 2019 as he takes more ownership over the Western Bulldogs' midfield brigade, teammate Hayden Crozier says.

Liberatore's absence was telling across the bulk of the 2018 season after the tough midfielder tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in round one against Greater Western Sydney, ruling him out for the rest of the year.

But after a thorough rehab from the injury, those at the Bulldogs are bullish about what he could produce alongside the likes of the much-improved Josh Dunkley, star Marcus Bontempelli and the ultra-consistent Jack Macrae.

"Libba's flying at the moment. He's come back in really good nick. He's been leading from the front in all our running trials and just the way he goes about his footy (is impressive)," Crozier said on Tuesday.

"He's that tough inside midfielder that really drives the standard within there and there's a lot of guys looking up to the way he plays.

"We've seen Josh Dunkley last year really improve his game but I think he'll go to another level this year with guys like Libba around and really pushing him."

Never one not to push the boundaries, Liberatore has also gained attention for the newly-inked tattoos he has added in the off-season.

His latest addition on both left and right bicep pays homage to a classic episode in The Simpsons involving protagonist Homer Simpson and a young fast food assistant as the famous dad tries to procure grease as part of a business venture.

It follows a tattoo of a muesli bar he showed off early in the pre-season.

"They're interesting tattoos. I don't mind it actually. I wouldn't get those tattoos myself, I don't think my Mum and Dad would be too happy if I did that," Crozier said.

"But that's Libba, that's why we all love him."

The Western Bulldogs will face Gold Coast in their first JLT Community Series in Mackay, Queensland on Sunday.